Immortal soul, I did not believe in you.

Against the age’s preference,
I wanted for your markings and history
the markings and history of, say, a small zebra—

slightly implausible, far from unique,
one visible pelt meant to disappear into the crowded many,
one dark stripe alive among the crowded many.

You seemed to want to go on separately.
You seemed to want elsewhere, and more.

I wanted less. One moment to pause
while setting kibble out in a dish for the calico cat
who might or might not
be inside the box when it finally opens.

One goldfinch holding the whole Mesozoic discovery,
hunting for seeds and hungry,
escaping, a few moments longer, the cat also hungry.

This dilemma cannot be solved,
and will be.

My immortal soul, perhaps you went into an Archelon
swimming with its sea-turtle nose above water,
then diving into extinction.

Immortal soul, had you existed,
what more than that cold water could we have wanted?